Nice Work if You Can Get it...

Pictured left is The Garrick Club. My friend George used to work there as a barman when he lived in London.

Apparently, it is the place for authors, politicians, musicians, celebrities, actors, high profile journalists, CEOs and the rest to meet, drink and, one imagines, formulate Government policy.  It operates something of a discriminatory policy...

"It would be better that 10 unobjectionable men should be excluded," decided the committee of the 178-year-old Garrick Club when it drew up its original criteria for membership, "than one terrible bore should be admitted..."

...a policy still in operation, as the Channel 4 head found to his disappointment. It's a policy which, I guess, circumvents Government legislation on grounds of discrimination quite nicely, somehow. According to The Independent (and George who used to serve politicians until 4 in the morning)...

"Ladies" are only permitted to accompany members to lunch or dinner as their guests and are excluded from the cocktail bar.
So, basically, I would not get in. George might not get in. Lazarus definitely wouldn't get in. Dives most certainly would. You might not get in. However, I bet this guy does...

According to The Telegraph...

'After leaving his Brussels job in Oct 2008, the Labour peer is still receiving a "transitional allowance" of £103,465 a year, which is funded by the taxpayer. The payment of £8,622 (€10,139) a month is set at 50 per cent of his former salary as European trade commissioner, a stipend paid at low rates of "community tax".

Despite being only 56 and highly employable, Lord Mandelson is entitled to claim the allowance until Oct 2011.

According to the House of Lords register of interests, dated Sept 20, the allowance and royalties from his new Labour memoir, The Third Man, are sole sources of income. Serialisation rights for the book are said to have been £400,000 alone. He is also entitled to claim a £86.50 daily subsistence when he attends the Lords.

"The aim of this system is to ease their return to the labour market, to maintain their independence after their time as commissioner," said a Brussels spokesman. "We want to help them so they don't have to jump on every job offer on the way."

The allowance is only stopped if Lord Mandelson gets a new job at a salary grade above his former Brussels rate of over £205,000 a year.'

£86.50 subsistence a day and the guy is minted! Paid by the taxpayer! The average 'jobseeker' gets about £65.45 a week, to live on, pay bills, heating, electricity, water and food and the Government is looking to cut benefits to the poor! Start with Pete and work your way down boys and girls! That would be justice!

George told me he was willing to bet his right arm that the smoking ban in operation throughout the UK is not in operation at The Garrick Club. I can't say it is or it isn't, obviously, what with not being able to see, but, it wouldn't surprise me if it was one rule for 'them' and another for 'us'. £30 cigars were most popular when George was working there, apparently. I can't, somehow, see the membership giving them up overnight. Everytime I read about Mandelson, or Blair for that matter, I suddenly sympathise with Robespierre and experience a great yearning for the return of 'la guillotine'. It's a shame a certain Cardinal didn't execute more prudence when he gave Blair a fast-track conversion course into the Church without checking whether he had renounced his anti-Catholicism.

As a rule, I don't have a great problem with exclusive clubs, I just don't like the criteria. Perhaps we could start one in Brighton...

"Are you skint? No? Sorry, mate, you can't come in. Oh, but I see you've come with someone who is...Welcome, sir, please, choose a tie! Everybody! Calm down! The next round is on this guy!"

Comments

Gerald said…
As a member, I don't think "Dives" would get in; too much of a penchant for purple!
Physiocrat said…
Why would you want to be a member of a club like that? Better Fr Ray's after EF Mass cheese and wine club. Frankly the conversation is going to be better at his after 10 am Mass coffee club.

Mandelson sounds like a Social Security parasite scrounger to me. He should go on a Restart scheme or whatever they call them. He could always get a job in a care home, though I not sure I would want him wiping my bottom.
Adam said…
It's claimed that Sir Edwin Lutyens received his commission from Archbishop Downey, over a cocktail at the Garrick Club, to design Liverpool cathedral.

I wonder if any of the current hierarchy frequent the place.
shadowlands said…
I'd rather stay home, with a cup of tea, toast, and read my favourite blogs. About 5p a round. Heaven!!

£86.50 a day though??????
Anthony said…
I bet the Italian anti-smoking ban isn't enforced at the Vatican either. They didn't seem to like some of the other laws (like the one that makes reporting sex crimes to civil authorities mandatory, the very one Ratzinger told his bishops, on pain of excommunication, not to follow). I guess all private clubs are sinister in their own way
georgem said…
The club for high-flying clergy, at least CofE, is The Athenaeum. As for The Garrick, Jeremy Paxman was "black-balled". He forgot to remember old Groucho's comment: "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." All clubs have exclusion rules for those who need personal affirmation that they are "something" in the community. I'm a member of the best club in the world: the Catholic Church. Takes all applicants.
Richard said…
The Garrick Club loses some of its glamour when you learn that Russ Abbot is a member.